You should view your website as you do any other piece of marketing material and value its worth based on its performance metrics. But how can you do this if you don’t understand what each metric is to begin with? Worry not - hopefully by the end of this article you should have enough of an understanding to interpret your website’s analytics data and make informed decisions on how well your website is working for your business.
How many people visit my website?
One of the first metrics that are key to understanding are Users, Sessions and Pageviews. Users is very clear-cut - it is the number of users who have visited your website in the selected date range. A session is counted as the period of time when the user is actively engaging with your website. Users are counted once, but a user can have multiple sessions. This means you can easily calculate your new to returning visitor ratio.
How do visitors find my website?
Knowing exactly where your visitors come from will help you on multiple fronts - it helps you confirm the effectiveness of your other online marketing efforts, but it also helps you identify referral sources that you may not have known about. Traffic sources can be broken down into 5 main categories:
- Organic Search - Traffic from search engines such as Google and Bing.
- Referral - Traffic from other websites. Knowing the websites that drive traffic to yours will help identify potential opportunities to drive traffic from similar websites.
- Direct - Users that enter the website address directly or visit via a bookmark link.
- Social - Traffic from Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.)
- Paid - Traffic from paid online advertising such as Google AdWords.
These are not the only traffic sources but are the key sources for most websites
Are they doing anything meaningful on my website?
So you know how many people are visiting your website, and you know how they got there, but what are they doing when they get there? Analysing user behaviour will help you understand how they are interacting with their website. By default, Google Analytics will show you the number of views a page has, how long users have remained on the page, the number of times people have entered your website on a particular page and the bounce rate of the page.
Bounce Rate is an often misunderstood metric and depending on how you using it depends on what is a good or bad value. A bounce is defined as a single-page session where the user left the site without interacting with it. The bounce rate is the percentage of all sessions where users only visited a single page and left the website.
Google Analytics records the time users spend on each page, but this value is only recorded when the user moves to another page. This means that a bounced session will always have a duration of 0 seconds, regardless of how long the users actually remained on the page.
Typically, pages such as news articles would have a higher bounce rate than the homepage or product pages of your website. Overall, a high bounce rate on your homepage is something you should avoid, especially if your site’s goals involve users visiting more than one page.
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the metrics behind your website’s analytics, but if you need any help, contact us today!